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I love email marketing. It is 40x more effective than social media when it comes to reaching your audience. And, once you set up automated email campaigns, they do the work for you — reaching customers at the right time so that you can optimize your sales funnel.
But email providers aren’t one size fits all. But the good news: finding the best email marketing software for your business is a lot easier than it seems.
- Contact list size
- Feature requirements — do you need just newsletters or will you require a more complex email nurture series?
- Ease of use (yup, some tools are way easier than others)
Table of Contents
ConvertKit is our favorite email tool. It’s very simple and very flexible. It’s for entrepreneurs, small businesses, small and medium size startups and bloggers.
ConvertKit is great for creating simple email automations that will convert customers. It can help you:
- Create simple newsletter emails
- Build audience lists and segment according to your business’s needs
- Make sales automation journey maps, which allow you to visualize your customer funnels in a really helpful way
ConvertKit is particularly useful for small business and bloggers that are looking to:
- Create pretty emails
- Set up a long-lasting sales funnel
- Create simple automation journeys (triggered communications based on timing and behavior)
- Measure campaign performance with analytics
- Email Automation Journey Maps make it incredibly easy to optimize your automations and tighten your sales funnel — if converting customers with automation journeys is your goal, you’re in luck!
- ConvertKit’s tag-based subscriber system allows you to write emails with merge tags, customizing your marketing emails for your subscribers
- They have over 80+ email templates to choose from
- ConvertKit integrates with tools like Zapier and Salesforce to make your life easier
- Email and live chat support
- The visual automation builder and alternative rules builder makes it easy to create automations
- Basic landing page software generator
- They have a form creation tool, which is great for collecting customer information
- ConvertKit’s data reporting is limited, but this may not be a problem depending on how big or small your business is! Check out which reporting features they offer here
- The forms have a limited number of customization options
ConvertKit tiers its pricing based on the number of subscribers your company has. You can pay is little as $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers. If you have a bigger list, they have a calculator that will estimate the monthly rate for you.
HubSpot offers a reliable and feature-packed email marketing tool that’s suited for growing businesses — for free. You can create professional marketing emails that engage and grow your audience with the easy drag-and-drop email builder. With the drag-and-drop email builder, you don’t need to wait on IT or designers for help.
On top of the free email tool, you can use the HubSpot CRM for free to create tailored touch-points for your customers. HubSpot Email is automatically connected with the HubSpot CRM, so you can tailor relevant emails based on any details you have — such as form submissions and website activity.
Using the CRM, you can include personalized content in your emails, like first name and company name, to ensure your contacts feel like they are being personally addressed, all while tracking email activity in the CRM.
- Includes a complete marketing system: free CRM, landing page tools, live chat and so much more.
- Price is low
- Intuitive interface
- Easy to get started
- Great support
- In-depth training
- Price increases as your email list grows
- Limited integrations
The HubSpot email tool is free for up to 2,000 email sends per month, with upgrade solutions starting at $50 with Marketing Hub Starter.
Price: Free to start
GetResponse has a pretty all-inclusive set of features that are perfect for small businesses, startups, and bloggers.
In fact, GetResponse is used by 350,000+ companies worldwide.
And, though GetResponse is often thought of as an email marketing software, they also offer a number of different tools, including marketing automation, webinars, and landing pages. Combining these different tools with their email marketing tools allows you to grow your email list and improve your sales funnel.
GetResponse is a user-friendly, strong option for email marketers. You can read my partner Mark’s full review of GetResponse here.
- 500+ template options and 5,000 free stock photos make it easy to create beautiful newsletters and professional email campaigns
- Drag and drop editor makes it simple
- List hosting and segmentation are both straightforward and easy to use
- “Autoresponders” aka email automation
- Solid analytics – GetResponse offers email ROI, information on individual users, metrics over time, and one-click segmentation
- A/B testing
- Optimization insights for email automation campaigns
- Integrates with most other tools
- GetResponse has a limited number of email templates compared with some other email marketing options
As most email marketing providers do, GetResponse tiers its pricing based on the size of your contact list. It will cost $15/month while you have 1,000 subscribers or less, and go up to as much as $450 to have an email list of 50,000 to 100,000 subscribers. If you wish to have more subscribers, you can upgrade to the “Pro” or “Max” package, which cost much more.
Mailchimp is a pretty well-known provider because they have great marketing, a lovely design aesthetic, and a free plan option for new users.
I used Mailchimp for the first 5 years of my marketing career. That’s because it was long considered the simplest provider out there.
While other tools focused on building tons of features, Mailchimp focused on building the simplest platform…. which is great for small businesses and bloggers who are short on time.
Mailchimp is great for small businesses and bloggers that just need a newsletter because it makes it simple to communicate with your customers.
- Very easy to use — though other providers have caught up in that category — I consider ConvertKit just as easy at this point
- Extremely simple drag and drop email editor
- Email designs are professional – it is easy to make your email look good
- Reports and analysis tools are easy to understand
- Mailchimp can integrate with other tools, especially as you migrate to higher tier plans
- Their landing page tool is… not so great. So don’t believe you’re getting something special there. You can read a full review of that here.
- Automation can be tricky because they do not have a workflow editor. Plus I hate the marketing automation analytics.
- At the low pricing tiers they offer limited features and very few integration options
Mailchimp costs $0 for 1,000 subscribers or less. The pricing gets as high as $240/month for 50,000 subscribers.
Mailchimp is a great product for the simplest email requirements. If your business needs nothing more than an occasional newsletter, Mailchimp is the best solution.
Constant Contact is great for small businesses as well. They offer a 60-day free trial so that you can make sure it is right for you. They also offer a number of customization options and integration options, while still keeping it user-friendly for their customers.
But I don’t happen to believe it’s one of the best. The age of the product shows. The user interface is pretty clunky/ugly and I find it hard to make pixel-perfect emails.
However, they do integrate easily with lots of other tools you might be using.
- Constant Contact has a variety of awesome, mobile-optimized templates
- Drag-and-drop email editor
- They offer extra features like polls, donations, and coupons
- A/B testing
- Segmentation capability
- Simple analytics
- Plenty of integration options, including Salesforce, WordPress, QuickBooks, Shopify, etc.
- Just like Mailchimp, Constant Contact lacks a workflow editor, making it difficult to manage email automations
- The UX is clunky and outdated
- The emails aren’t always the prettiest
Constant Contact pricing varies depending on the size of your email list. You can choose an email package, which ranges from $20 to $335, and, if you want, a Plus package, which ranges from $45 to $335.
Read my partner Mark’s in-depth review of our top four email marketing picks here.
SendinBlue is a pretty small player in the email game, but we think it’s worth noting.
- Wide variety of templates to choose from that optimize for mobile
- Contact management
- Integration capabilities with APIs, WordPress plugin, Magento, PrestaShop, and Drupal
- Allows you to send SMS messaging in addition to email
- There is a delay period between when you register and when you can send emails
- The email builder can be buggy sometimes
Pricing for Sendin Blue ranges from $0 for 300 emails daily to $49/month for the premium package that comes with everything. There is also an enterprise package that allows you to create a custom plan.
Campaign Monitor is great for creating nice newsletters and simple automation emails.
They have over 250,000 customers, the ranks of which include Huffington Post and Adidas. They are a particularly good option for ecommerce, travel companies, entertainment companies, media companies, and nonprofits.
Capterra has ranked Campaign Monitor as the Best Email Marketing Software.
- Mass email capability
- Automation and action-triggered response tools that allow you to effectively follow up with leads — particularly useful for ecommerce companies
- Great integration options with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento
- More expensive than competing softwares
Pricing for Campaign Monitor starts at $9/month. It costs $29/month for Unlimited, and $149/month for Premier. One great feature is that they offer a pay-per-campaign option, which might be the perfect choice for a small business or blogger.
Iterable has gotten a lot of press and has a fair number of recognizable clients, including Spotify, DoorDash, Zillow, and Box. The software can help you engage with your users using well-structure communication and a number of different channels.
- Unlimited segmentation
- Trigger campaigns
- Customizable, sophisticated workflows and flexible profiles
- Track leads in real time
- Run multiple campaigns seamlessly
- SMS, push notification and email capabilities
- Great journey map builder
- It can take a long time to upload photos
- Steep learning curve at first
There is no payment information on Iterable’s site – you have to contact sales to get that information. It is a top tier, expensive tool.
ActiveCampaign’s focus is to help you build good customer relationships and lead relationships. It is a hidden gem in the email marketing software world because of its extremely reasonable pricing.
- Great user interface
- Many useful features outside of email — sales functions, CRM, chat/messaging, SMS
- Email automation feature
- Event tracking
- Gmail integration
- Lead scoring
- Conditional content, which allows you to make emails and messages hyper-personalized
- Win probability analysis
- Create a different pipeline for each segment of your customers, which allows you to act on all of your leads
- Subscription forms
- 150+ integration options, including Zapier
- No native integration
- No push notifications
- No API
ActiveCampaign costs $17/month but does get expensive pretty quickly. Enterprise versions of the software cost $229/month at minimum.
Autopilot is my personal favorite email marketing tool. They offer a super simple user interface and a number of great features.
Autopilot is used by a number of big companies, including Lyft, Atlassian, and Microsoft.
- Core features include: email templates, channel management, contact database, lead management, multi-campaign functions, reporting, and event triggered actions
- Analytics are great – you can track your whole business, from the generation of leads, to the creation of the contact, to crew management and record keeping
- Super easy journey map builder
- Integrations with a number of enterprise level tools, including Salesforce, Google Ads, Typeform, Twilio, and Segment
- Scales from hundreds of messages per month to millions
- Templates aren’t super impressive – Make sure you have the resources to build content yourself
Autopilot’s Silver plan is free. The Gold plan costs $199/month, while the Platinum plan is $899/month. Platinum includes everything that an enterprise-level business needs, while small businesses and bloggers might be suited for the Silver or Gold plan.
iContact offers comprehensive features and a number of tiered plans that make it a good marketing software.
- iContact comes with an email editor
- Segmentation is easy
- A/B testing, automation, list building and tracking email analytics are all strong
- User interface is super simple
- Salesforce mass email capability
- Some automation capabilities
- Affordable plan options
- Drag and drop editor seems a bit confusing
Pricing ranges from $14/month for the essential plan all the way up to $99/month at the highest priced Professional plan. Not so bad when compared to other email marketing software’s pricing.
ContactOut is a B2B email search engine with an extensive database of over one billion personal and business email addresses. If you use Linkedin at all in your outreach and marketing workflows, this makes it an indispensable tool to get the attention of your leads – via their inboxes. In fact, ContactOut is able to find emails for nearly three-quarters of professionals in engineering, sales and finance in the US and UK. This makes ContactOut perfect for small-biz lead generation.
- -In-built mail merge
- Chrome extension easy to use
- In-browser search portal
- Export to CSV to integrate with your existing CRM and email marketing solution
- Limited monthly credits for free users (though allowances are more generous than similar email search engines)
ContactOut is an enterprise-level product so there is no option for very small monthly users (though the free option should be plenty for most users and you can get a free two-week trial of their enterprise plan). You’ll need to contact their sales team ([email protected]) if you’d like to find out more.
Choosing the Best Email Marketing Software
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right email marketing software for your small business or blog. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different considerations you will make when selecting the right software for your business.
Budget: How much are you willing to spend on a monthly or yearly basis to communicate with your customers? This will likely vary based on what industry you are in, so be sure to think carefully about it.
Contact List Size: Most email marketing softwares tier their pricing based on how many contacts you will be adding to their system – make sure you choose a system that aligns with the number of contacts you have now, as well as the number of contacts you have in the future.
Feature Requirements: Again, this will depend on you and your business. What features are important to you? What matters to your customers?
Ease of Use: How user friendly is the platform? Do you have the HTML and CSS skills needed to code in styling if the platform requires it? Or is a drag-and-drop template more your speed? Be sure to consider these things before you make any major email software decisions.
Email marketing software can make a huge impact on your business. Emails are one of the best ways to engage and convert users, and with industry-wide open rates still sitting above 20%, that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
I personally recommend email marketing for all different kinds of businesses, big, small, old, or new. And I hope that this guide helps you discern which email marketing software is best for you.
Still have questions? Comment below! We’d love to help.
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